The card is in the books, and now it’s time to deal with the fallout of UFC 125.
First things first, Frankie Edgar silenced the doubters and put on a performance that might even top his fights against Penn. In the first round, “The Truth” received that type of beating that made it appear as though a call to social services was necessary. But Edgar somehow survived only to come back to get the better of Maynard on the feet, while stuffing most of the Xtreme Couture product’s takedown attempts and actually landing his own takedowns seemingly at will over the course of the the next four rounds.
While the draw decision was reasonable given how close rounds three and five were, if either man deserved the nod it was the champion. Either way, we’ll get a decisive winner in a few months when they rematch. Until then just appreciate the classic that took place last night.
If given the right fights, Brian Stann could finally emerge as the star Zuffa has always hoped he would be. Everyone knew the former Marine had heavy hands, but few realistically expected him to stop the zombie that is Chris Leben. Potentially interesting opponents for Stann include Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort (should he get defeated by Anderson Silva), and Michael Bisping.
What’s amazing is that the guy has gone from being essentially written off after his 2-2 startin the UFC to now being a relevant and exciting addition to the middleweight division over the course of two impressive victories. He was able to choke out a seasoned grappler in Mike Massenzio and outstrike a rock jawed brawler in Chris Leben. And in victory, he continually praised his opponent. What a goddamn nice guy.
More analysis after the jump.
I think it’s clear that Brandon Vera is no longer cut out for a spot on the UFC roster. He has merely one win over a relevant opponent — a 2006 TKO victory over an out-of-shape Frank Mir — and has gone 0-3 in his past three fights. On top of that, Vera has gone 3-6 in his past nine. His performance last night was nothing short of pathetic, as he had literally nothing to offer Thiago Silva on the ground and landed no significant strikes on the feet. I don’t remember the last time I saw a supposed high-level fighter stink up the Octagon the way Brandon Vera did last night and he and the UFC would both be better off parting ways.
I hate to say it as I am a big fan of both men, but Marcus Davis and Phil Baroni should also be finished in the UFC. Neither man knows anything else but fighting, but they should each find new ways to spend their time. Their continued health and self-respect require it.
Clay Guida is now a legitimate contender at lightweight, at the expense of Takanori Gomi. The way I see it, “The Carpenter” is now at the top of the 155 pound contenders heap, alongside fighters like George Sotiropoulous, Jim Miller, Anthony Pettis, and Kenny Florian. I like a fight with either Miller or Sotirop in his next outing, depending on how those two do in their respecting upcoming scraps. Alternatively, a match with former champ Sean Sherk is a good next step.
Jeremy Stephens is quickly becoming the lightweight division’s version of Chris Lytle. He’ll likely never fight for a championship, but his ability to produce highlight reel finishes will keep him continually in contention for fight night bonuses and televised bouts.
I’m glad Jacob Volkmann got the nod over Antonio McKee, even though I didn’t get to see the fight. For a guy whose never beaten a legitimate UFC-caliber opponent, McKee talked a lot of insane gibberish about how good he was. It’s always nice to see morons who fail to be self-aware get humbled, especially within the confines of a steel cage. Eat shit, McKee.
I wasn’t too happy to see both Josh Grispi and Mike Brown drop bouts to unheralded prospects, but it just goes to show how deep the 145 pound weight class is, and how it really is still in a development stage due to the merger. Although it rarely happens, Bloody Elbow’s Jonathan Snowden hits the nail with his observation that the featherweight class is “under construction” after the merger. It’s a great point, and it’s surprising considering how often Snowden is wrong.
If he wasn’t already matched up with Rick Story, I’d like to see Stun Gun fight Thiago Alves next. The South Korean fighter is boring to watch but for his beautiful judo throws, and should be matched up with somebody with serious striking skills to see where he really fits into the welterweight division. Nate Diaz has cemented his spot as a high-level gatekeeper.